39% of domestic travel insurance claims made pre-holiday, says Southern Cross Travel Insurance

A woman packs a suitcase on a bed.
Credit: Robin Skjoldborg, Getty Images.

Travel in Australia has re-entered the public imagination following the easing of border restrictions between some states and territories. In response, insurance provider Southern Cross Travel Insurance (SCTI) has recorded a growing number of customers seeking domestic travel insurance to complement their holiday plans.

In a recent review, the provider found trip changes and cancellations were responsible for a sizeable 39% of the total value of domestic travel insurance claims they paid out over the last year.

In its assessment of recent claims, SCTI also named 10 of its largest travel insurance payouts. This included a case where a family trip to Mackay turned into a trip to the emergency room back home when one of the children was diagnosed with acute appendicitis requiring surgery. SCTI paid $4,685 to cover the cost of cancelled accommodation and flight changes, saving the family’s finances from also going under the knife.

That’s just one of a raft of domestic travel insurance claims SCTI has paid out in the past 12 months, many of which relate to injuries sustained during a trip or before holidayers even set out on their journeys. And when it comes to the kind of people making these claims, SCTI chief executive Jo McCauley says age isn’t a barrier.

“The customers who’ve had to cancel their holiday due to injury or illness have been across all age groups,” he says. 

SCTI’s list of highest value insurance payouts included claimants at all life stages, whether it was a 75-year-old man who fractured his collarbone after he fell off his horse on an alpine safari, or a 24-year-old who had to cancel their trip (before they’d even packed) due to a workplace injury. It goes to show it’s not just the elderly who might benefit from adding a domestic travel insurance policy to their travel bags.

“Interestingly, people commonly purchase insurance because they want to be covered while they’re away on holiday. But our biggest number of claims show that the unexpected can happen beforehand, regardless of whether you’re travelling domestically or abroad,” McCauley says. 

“Unfortunately, this can have a serious hit to your pocket if you don’t have travel insurance.”

Do you need domestic travel insurance?

The potential peace of mind offered by purchasing a domestic travel insurance policy is certainly a considerable factor. There are numerous reasons why your holiday might be cut short, or not go ahead at all. Whether it’s injuring yourself days before your flight is booked to depart, or having to return home early due to medical emergencies, having domestic travel insurance means you might be able to recover some of your losses.

For example, if you’re hiring a vehicle for your holiday, some domestic travel insurance providers offer rental car excess reduction. An ‘excess’ is the amount you’ll have to pay in order to access the insurance provided by rental car companies if you get into an accident. Standard hire car insurance excesses can be very expensive – often in the thousands. Eliminating the possibility of having to cover this cost if you get into trouble on the holiday road can help reduce travel stress.

“With the summer holidays coming up and international borders still uncertain, a road trip is a great way to see the country. Domestic travel insurance can help reduce the cost of a hire car,” McCauley says.

If you’re planning an overseas excursion, be sure to read up on insurance requirements and the answers to all your frequently asked travel questions at our international travel insurance hub.